Chris Burkard, the photographer who has captured the attention of millions with his often oceanic and wild photos tells us about his adventurous life on the road and the gear he uses to capture his award-winning images.
Innovation & Tech Today: What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever visited/captured?
Chris Burkard: Iceland. I’ve been there 24 times now, and am going three more times this summer. It always blows my mind. There are so many diverse climates and landscapes on one small island. It is amazing.
I&T Today: Is the transition from photography to videography a smooth/natural one?
Chris Burkard: Obviously, I’m mostly shooting photography, but when I do work on a videography project I’m working from more of a director’s standpoint. That transition was fairly easy for me since I’m able to portray the same scene or vision in my head, just through a different medium.
I&T Today: What’s your favorite piece of equipment?
Chris Burkard: My Goal Zero chargers are always saving me. Whenever I’m away from the studio I’m constantly working on my phone and it always needs to be charged. They do the job perfectly.
I&T Today: What’s the best camera you’ve ever used?
Chris Burkard: Sony a7R II is the most impressive camera I’ve ever used. The sharpness and dynamic range that come from this camera are absolutely incredible. Earlier in my career, I shot with a Sony NEX-7. I’ve shot some of my best work on that tiny camera and still love the “look and feel” of the images it produces.
I&T Today: Do you use action cams much? Do you go with GoPro, Sony, Garmin, etc?
Chris Burkard: I use the Sony Action Cam as well as GoPros, but the A-series cameras are already so small I don’t really feel the need to bring anything else. Unless I’m going to mount it somewhere I feel it might get damaged.
I&T Today: What gear do you always travel with?
Chris Burkard: Neck pillow, iPhone, Spot GPS locator, Olloclip, Northern Lights sunglasses, Thera Cane massager, and some good noise canceling headphones.
I&T Today: I’ve noticed that most of your landscapes have a person in them. Do you consciously have a person in the foreground for, say, scale?
Chris Burkard: I love including people in landscape imagery for scale, but more importantly to evoke a connection with viewers. My goal is to inspire others to explore this beautiful earth and to see how much can be enjoyed when getting out of your comfort zone!
I&T Today: What projects/trips do you have coming up?
Chris Burkard: I’m doing two workshops in Iceland at the end of May and beginning of June. This is the first time I’m trying workshops that are this detailed and comprehensive so I’m really stoked to see how they turn out. I have some great people coming along for the ride so it should be an awesome time!
I&T Today: Do you have a unicorn trip or one last bucket-list location/shot that you’ve never done?
Chris Burkard: Chile and Patagonia are definitely up there. Hopefully, those will be conquered in the near future.
I&T Today: How the hell do you get 1.6 million Instagram followers?
Chris Burkard: I’m not really sure, to be honest [laughs]. I just post good content consistently that feels natural to me and it’s worked out so far!
I&T Today: How do you use social media and has it impacted your career?
Chris Burkard: Surprisingly, social media has brought in some of my biggest jobs. I view my Instagram as a constantly growing portfolio.
I&T Today: Do you take photos with IG in mind, like, “This’ll look great on IG?”
Chris Burkard: Most of the time I’m thinking about more of a traditional landscape photo, and after the fact, I will fit the photo into the Instagram square if it looks good on that platform. I wouldn’t say I shoot photos with IG in mind though.
I&T Today: Are there certain types of photos that do better on social media than others? Have you noticed that your followers like a specific kind of pic?
Chris Burkard: I haven’t really noticed a certain “type” of photo that does well, but I always post photos that will inspire action and create engagement to encourage them to get outside and explore for themselves!
I&T Today: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever eaten on the road?
Chris Burkard: I think one of the best ways to experience a foreign culture is by sampling their cuisine! The first thing that comes to mind is rotten shark nuggets in Iceland. It’s called kaestur hákarl and is a delicacy in Iceland.
I&T Today: If you were a handsome journalist with only 1k followers, what would you do to grow your IG numbers? Hypothetically, that is.
Chris Burkard: Post good images consistently and make sure your captions are engaging! You want your followers to look forward to your posts, and, when they do pop up, they should be inspiring photos that will draw their attention.
Interview By Billy Brown
Images Courtesy of Chris Burkard.
Follow Chris Burkard on Instagram @chrisburkard to see more incredible photography from his adventures around the world. Don’t forget to tag us #innotechtoday.
Learn more about Chris Burkard on his website here!
This Interview Originally Appeared in The Summer 2016 Issue of Innovation & Tech Today